Two award-winning film directors have been selected to helm episodes of HBO’s upcoming video game adaptation. According to Variety, Jasmila Zbanic (On the Path, For Those Who Can Tell No Tales) and Ali Abbasi (Shelley, M for Markus) will direct The Last of Us. The series is based on the PlayStation exclusive title originally released in 2013.
Zbanic is a Bosnian filmmaker most recently known for her Oscar-nominated film, Quo vadis, Aida, according to Variety. In addition to being nominated for an Academy Award, Zbanic coveted the 2021 Spirit Independent Film Award for Best International Film. Abbasi is an Iranian director most known for his 2018 feature, Border. The film won him the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The two directors join Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole, Closeness) who will direct the pilot.
According to Variety, HBO announced the development of the series in March of 2020. The series was picked up the following November. Developed by gaming studio Naughty Dog (The Last of Us Part II, Uncharted 4: Theif’s End), the story is set 20 years after a devastating event has destroyed civilization. With the country in ruins, plagued by an infection that turns human beings into ravaging zombies, a lone survivor is tasked with transporting a young girl across the country. The simple task soon derails into a fight for survival.
The series will star Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984, Narcos) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials) in the lead roles of Joel and Ellie, respectively. Gabriel Luna (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., Terminator: Dark Fate) is the latest actor to join the cast as Joel’s brother, Tommy.
The series is being helmed by writer and executive producer, Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, The Hangover Part II ) via Variety. He is joined by the video game’s creative director, Neil Druckmann (The Last of Us: American Dreams, Uncharted). Executive producers from the gaming world include Naughty Dog president Evan Wells (ToeJam & Earl in Panic in Funkotron, Gex) and PlayStation Productions’s Asad Qizilbash (Death Stranding, Spider-Man) and Carter Swan (Ghost of Tsushima). Carolyn Strauss (Deadwood: The Movie, Treme) and Rose Lam (Double Happiness, Altered Carbon) will also executive produce.
According to Variety, several popular video game titles are being adapted for television. 2021 alone will give us the final season of Netflix’s Castlevania, several series from the Resident Evil franchise, and HBO’s Last of Us.